Hydrogen vehicles: Alternative fuels to play a ‘key role’ in future as Government invests

As the Government pushes ahead with its 2030 ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles, it is hoped that alternative fuels will take off. Most drivers will already be familiar with electric vehicles, with EVs already being adopted across the UK as the largest growing car type in the UK.

Given the Government’s focus on cleaner fuels, many automotive experts are looking at hydrogen as another sector that will be key to moving towards the goal of net-zero.

In August, the Government published its UK Hydrogen Strategy which outlined the plans for the use of hydrogen in transport in the future.

It announced funding worth £23million to support the Hydrogen for Transport Programme which aims to support its use specifically for transport.

The Department for Transport pledged to take forward a programme of development and demonstration of hydrogen technologies across different transport modes, targeting buses, HGVs and even shipping and aviation.

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David Rogers, Toyota GB spokesperson on alternative fuels, commented on the future of hydrogen and how it could play out.

He said: “Cars are the tip of the iceberg for Toyota in terms of progress towards a hydrogen society.

“Hydrogen will play a key role in meeting our future energy needs, bringing zero emission driving for both big cities and small villages.

“It allows us to store renewable energy and transport it easily, so that it can be used on demand to power a variety of industries.

“In Toyota collaborations across Europe you’ll increasingly see trials of fuel cell-powered buses, trains, boats and, who knows, maybe even homes.”

The Mirai is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, with water being the only waste output from the vehicle.

Investment into hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure is starting to flourish in the UK, following Bosch’s intention to invest as much as £800million into developing fuel cells and lorries.

A recent Express.co.uk poll found that almost 70 percent of drivers would buy a hydrogen car, with only six percent of the 4,660 votes saying they would purchase an electric car.

While the popularity is clearly there, there are currently only 14 refuelling stations in the UK, five of which are on the M25.

Hyundai are also looking into expanding their range of hydrogen vehicles, with the NEXO, which claims to only need five minutes to fill up to be ready to take on up to 414 miles of open road.

Further Government investment has also been provided to set up the Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub in northern England.

Around £8million has already been invested to understand hydrogen’s role in decarbonising the transport sector, through large scale trials across different transport modes and use cases.

The Tees Valley area will see various pilot projects of hydrogen vehicles across modes and use cases including, but not limited to, forklifts, cars, buses, HGVs and marine vessels.

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